Monthly Mobile Review Roundup – November

(re)format-Z: (Developed by Blindflug Studios. Available on iOS and Android)

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The year is 2117. The location is Zurich. The setting is a dystopian future (aren’t they always).

You play as Alice, a hacker and rebel who is trying to infiltrate LIBRIA Corp’s system. You were unsuccessful. LIBRIA know what you have done and want you eliminated, but immediately after your hacking attempt failed you are contacted by a mysterious underground organisation calling itself “The Resistance”. They are certain that Alice’s actions will lead to a revolution and they aid you, as you traverse the city, to avoid drones and sneak past surveillance guards. As you work through level sections you are shown the significance of locations that led to the reformation 600 years ago, and you collect lost data fragments that inform you of LIBRIA Corp’s secrets.

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The game itself brings to mind the SquEnix Go! series of games, especially Deus Ex Go, and has a visual style that has been strongly influenced by Blade Runner. You move through the city by moving from point to point on lines laid out on the ground or up the side of buildings. Along the same lines move guards or surveillance bots which you have to stay out of sight from. You also have to time runs to avoid the sweeping scan of stationary surveillance bots. Also at your disposal as you progress are a range of tools like a scanner scrambler and invisibility that allow you to sneak around more effectively.

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While in a direct comparison to the SquEnix games (re)format Z: comes off as feeling less polished it does make up for that by being a more narrative focused games that compels you to keep playing.

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Blindflug Studios should be commended by what they have achieved with the game and I have enjoyed the experience so far and will definitely keep it on my phone until I have completed it.

Worth your time/money? Yes

 

Shwip Turbo Thumb (Developed by Jamhammer Games Inc. Available on iOS and Android)

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I apologise in advance for anybody reading this review as, in an effort to appear to be cool, I am paraphrasing lyrics from a song that was released over a year ago.

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S – P – T – T

I have a thumb, I have a smartphone
Uh
Shwip Turbo Thumb

I have waves of enemies, I have a vertical space based shooter
Uh
Shwip Turbo Thumb

High score boards, selectable level types (still to come)
Uh
Shwip Turbo Thumb is pretty good (but it lacks explosion sound effects)

Shwip Turbo Thumb is worth your time (go checkout Shwip on Steam as well for an ace looking local multiplayer twin stick shooter)

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Worth your time/money? Yes

 

Infinite Loop – Energy (Developed by Infinity Games. Available on iOS and Android)

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Back when I first got a smartphone one of the first games I installed was a game called Scrambled Net. In the game you are presented with a computer network on a set of tiles and you click each tile to turn it and try and complete the network by joining everything up (you can still get Scrambled Net on the Play store. Sadly the screen doesn’t scale to higher resolution phones). Fast forward nearly 6 years and Infinite Loop – Energy could be best described as an evolution of that genre of games. It has nicer graphics, cleverer use of design, and much better music, but at its core it is still the same puzzle game.

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That’s not to be dismissive of this type of game as it is still perfect in its simplicity and, being on a mobile device, makes it the ideal game to play for a few minutes while waiting for the next thing in your life to happen (or between periods of checking you social network accounts). Infinite Loop – Energy also has another thing going for it in that the designs for each level are well crafted and usually end up being a pattern or recognisable shape. This makes the game feel that care and consideration were taken in its design rather than being reliant on randomly generated patterns (some do look reminiscent of diagrams in biology books, but that’s probably just me).

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Overall Infinite Loop – Energy is excellent at what it does, though how much time you spend with it will depend on your preference for this type of puzzle game.

Worth your time/money? Yes

 

AdVenture Communist (Developed by Hyper Hippo. Available on iOS and Android)

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I am an idiot. So easily lured in with the promise of something new. This time it was communism.

Hyper Hippo’s new game is a twist on their previous game Adventure Capitalist. I say “twist”, but in reality AdVenture Communist is really just a different user interface. A more cumbersome UI as instead of having everything nicely laid out on one screen AdVenture Communist now has the addition of “tabs” for a variety of industries. Exciting!

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You start out having access to produce potatoes. Producing potatoes gives you access to farmers who will then produce potatoes automatically. Having farmers allows you to set up communes which then produce farmers, who then produce potatoes and so on. You will get access to more tabs as you along and reach certain requirements. You eventually get access to 5 tabs: potatoes, land, ore, bullets & placebos. Each thing on the list of commodities on each tab automatically produces more, over time, of the commodity above it or the base commodity of the tab. The more of each you have the more it will produce, but to produce that item you have to use some of the already created commodities eg. a collective costs 50,000 potatoes, 100 land, 10 communes and 50 comrades (comrades accrue over time and cannot be generated by the player).

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Like its predecessor, AdVenture Communist gives you the option of a fresh start (time travel in this case) that allows you to rank up and start from scratch, but with a number of bonuses in place. The bonuses let you get back to where you where quicker than it took you to get there in the first place, but in the long run probably increase your speed by 0.01% each time (if that).

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So why do I keep getting sucked into playing these games that are the equivalent of pressing F9 on a spreadsheet with a lot of very clever formulas in the background? My honest answer is that I don’t know. It is probably a Pavlovian response, or something similar. What I do know is that I am thankful for oranges and the fact that mobile devices register them being set on the screen as the screen being touched. It takes the monotony out of clicker games!

Worth your time/money? No

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